Nancy Miller
April 16, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

What’s for breakfast in Austin? If it’s noon and you’re hanging out at local fave Jovita’s with the Secret Machines — L2T’s breakout band at this year’s South by Southwest music conference — it’s heaps of Mexican grub and gallons of tequila. Seems fitting, since the NYC-by-way-of-Dallas trio’s album, Now Here Is Nowhere (out May 18), delivers a yearning, burning I’m so wasted I could cry! sensation. And the former Captain Audio bandmates still layer molten elements of My Bloody Valentine and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club on top of a rich base of Rush and Led Zeppelin like a heavy plate of classic-rock nachos. (Or maybe we’re just hungry.) Here experience their boozy heartache — and a touch of heartburn.

ROUND 1 Wasting Away in Margaritaville

BEN CURTIS (guitar), margarita, straight up It’s all about avoiding intestinal distress… [To waitress] I’ll have the enchilada plate with refried beans and sausage patties.

BRANDON CURTIS (lead vocals, keyboard, bass, brother to Ben), margarita, on the rocks, salt No intestinal distress there.

JOSH GARZA (drums), margarita, on the rocks, no salt It’s noon. It’s time for a margarita. Drink up!

ROUND 2 Exiled in Dullsville

BEN, margarita We talk about esoteric minimalist 20th-century composers at great length.

BRANDON, margarita Yeah, last Thursday Ben came to the realization that we are really dull.

JOSH, margarita Readers don’t want to read about some of our intense bulls — -.

BEN [De-dulling their bull] We’re currently dating supermodels who are strippers! We found some in Toronto.

JOSH [Re-dulling their bull] We’ll get back to you on that one.

ROUND 3 Into the Darkness

BRANDON, tequila shot Making this record, we were given, I don’t know, challenges. Can you make a song that’ll fit in the popular format? Can you do it and still retain meaning? Some people would say, ”F — – you, that’s my art.”

BEN, tequila shot At the same time we know it’s just rock music…. Let’s not take it too seriously. But it’s gotten to that point where the only humor in rock is irony.

BRANDON It’s like, I like the Darkness. But if I like them, are they making fun of me for liking them?

ROUND 4 A Lo-Carb Solution!

JOSH, tequila shot You guys hurry up and drink! You’re slow!

BRANDON, tequila shot Less sugar, more shots!

BEN, tequila shot We’re on Atkins.

ROUND 5 Refried Beans + Tequila = ?

JOSH, tequila shot A secret machine can be anything. We’re surrounded by machines we know nothing about — lights, you name it. This band is kind of like that…

BEN, tequila shot The mystery of electricity!

BRANDON, tequila shot We may not know that we know exactly what we’re doing, but we know what we’re doing.

BEN [After downing his shot] My stomach hurts, man.

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